This all purpose BBQ rub is a blend of barbecue spices that pairs perfectly with chicken, pork and beef. It’s great for grilled, roasted or smoked meats and you can even use it on vegetables and potatoes.

Barbecue spice rub is my to-go seasoning blend for meats, especially when it comes to grilling and smoking. I make a big batch and it lasts for months. You can even package up your spice blend and give it as gifts to the foodies in your life!

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A jar of BBQ rub made with brown sugar and a variety of spices.

I do a lot of grilling and smoking during the warmer months, and I decided it was high time I create an all purpose BBQ rub to season my meat. This spice rub is a little sweet, a little smoky, and loaded with aromatic spices to create a seasoning blend that can be used in so many ways.

How do you make BBQ Rub?

This recipe literally takes about 3 minutes to put together. The rub is a blend of brown sugar, regular paprika, smoked paprika, dry mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Stir everything together and you’re ready to get grilling.

A blend of brown sugar and spices to make BBQ rub.

This barbecue rub will keep for months if stored in a cool, dry place, so make a double or triple batch and you’ll have enough to get you through the spring and summer.

The ingredients for BBQ rub all mixed together in a bowl.

How do you use a BBQ rub?

I use this barbecue rub on so many different foods including

  • chicken thighs
  • steaks
  • chicken wings
  • burgers
  • pork tenderloin
  • chicken breasts
  • pork chops
  • roasted potatoes
  • roasted cauliflower
  • tofu

The only thing to keep in mind is that this rub does contain sugar, which means you want to take caution to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn if you’re grilling over high heat or broiling your meat. If you’re cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, be sure to check out my smoked turkey rub recipe.

BBQ rub on chicken thighs ready to be smoked or grilled.

BBQ Rub Variations

  • Spicy BBQ Rub: Add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or ground chipotle pepper to the mix.
  • Garlic Lovers Rub: Double the amount of garlic in the recipe.
  • Mexican Rub: Add 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander to the mix.

Since this BBQ rub is shelf stable, it also makes a great gift for someone who loves to cook! Simply package the rub in small jars and add a homemade gift tag.

Smoked chicken thighs made with BBQ rub.

I use this BBQ rub at least once a week, it’s my favorite way to add a little zest to ordinary foods. This is also my go-to rub for smoking meat, simply rub your meat with the spices, smoke until a thermometer registers as done, and brush on a little BBQ sauce. You’re sure to get rave reviews!

More great grilling recipes

5 from 88 votes

BBQ Rub Recipe

AuthorSara Welch
A jar of BBQ rub made with brown sugar and a variety of spices.
This all purpose BBQ rub is a blend of spices that pairs perfectly with chicken, pork and beef. It's great for grilled, roasted or smoked meats and you can even use it on vegetables and potatoes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time6 minutes
Course Seasoning
Cuisine American
Serves 12


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix all of the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Spice rub keeps for up to 3 months when stored in a cool, dry place.


Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sodium: 388mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2300IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

Learn more about Sara

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5 from 88 votes (54 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. I’ve never tried this, but I’d be concerned that it would cool down the turkey as it cooked and make the cook time much longer.

  1. I typically only stock smoked paprika. If I only used smoked paprika for both, would it be too overpowering? Is the use of regular paprika needed to balance the flavor? If so, do you use a sweet paprika in combination with the smoked paprika?

  2. 5 stars
    This BBQ Rub is great!! (As is the recipe for smoked pork chops!!) Only suggestion is I use a combination of Hungarian Paprika And Hungarian Hot Paprika and skip the Cayenne.


  3. 5 stars
    This rub is excellent!!! I am low carb so I use Swerve brown sugar in place of the brown sugar. So good!!!

  4. Wonderful rub … made a brisket on the smoker and it was perfectly seasoned. Today we’re doing a smoked pork shoulder for pulled pork so I’m sure it’ll be just as good

  5. I am interested in this so that I don’t used bottled bbq sauce. I need to limit sugar in my diet. Is it OK to leave out the brown sugar?

    1. I have not tested it this way so I can’t say for sure. I do think you’d need to use some brown sugar to make it taste right, but you probably could reduce the brown sugar by 1/3 and still be ok.

      1. You might want to try G. Hughes Sugar Free BBQ sauces… look on Amazon. They are really great tasting!!

  6. 5 stars
    I found this recipe a year or 2 ago and it has become my go-to for baby back ribs and Boston butt rub. The flavor turns out amazingly!!!

  7. Hi, Barry here. Making your whole chicken tomorrow, should I rinse the brine off before cooking or just pat it dry?

  8. I liked the rub but have one question. Should I put olive oil on my meat before putting the rub on?


  9. 5 stars
    Seems to be pretty good I am going to make it and try it. What if I don’t have brown sugar can I use regular sugar? Will it taste the same.

  10. 5 stars
    **For best flavor: Make ahead**
    Amazing rub! One thing I noticed: I made the rub and put immediately on some wings and baked. It was good and I enjoyed it. (ie. good, but nothing to writing home about). I had leftover rub which I had stored in the fridge (not sure why I did this as none of the ingredients needed it), so a couple days later, I made more wings again…and this time, they were amazing. I’m not sure what happened…but the flavors in the rub seemed to meld together and I enjoyed the output the second time much more. The first time, I felt like I could taste the individual flavors (cyan, brown sugar, etc), but the second time, it was one smooth, amazing taste. I’m going to make a bunch now and store for whenever I want to do this next, I can only imagine it will be even better after a longer period of time.

  11. 5 stars
    Fantastic dry rub! Thanks for posting it! Today I am rubbing down chicken drumsticks with it and refrigerating them overnight before roasting them low and slow atop a bed of onions with some smashed garlic. Looks like a good time here! I’ll bookmark your site for new ideas!. Cheers!

  12. Hi

    I posted this on your FB page but it seems my post has been removed.

    Id like to make this rub but can not source kosher salt, can you suggest a substitution?